Northern Illinois District Finds Unexpected $3 Million in Budget

MACHESNEY PARK, Ill. (AP) - Local education officials say it was like a gift from the gods.

While going over their budget for this school year, officials with the Harlem School District in Machesney Park found something they weren't expecting an extra $3 million.

The district had been bracing for a budget loss of more than $225,000. Instead, they'll end up with a $3.5 million cushion.

Officials say the money has come from new state and federal grants and savings from an employee wage and benefit freeze last year.

While most in the northern Illinois community are breathing a sigh of relief, some are troubled by the surprise surplus.

School Board member Gloria Maloney says nobody on the board actually knows what's going on with the district's finances.